It has been six months since the last time the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Un, threatened to use nuclear weapons on South Korea, leaving only a “sea of fire” in Seoul, the capital of South Korea. Currently, North Korea has been preparing for their 4th nuclear test. The neighboring countries have all been speaking out against this action and have tried to prevent the country from conducting this test.
In 2006, North Korea launched their first nuclear test and in 2009, nuclear tests continued for a second time. The most recent (3rd) nuclear test took place in February 2013. Now, in 2014, preparations are being made to perform their 4th nuclear test. Ever since the first nuclear test, the United Nations has put big sanctions on North Korea to discard their nuclear weapons. However, North Korea has refused and continues to keep and test their weapons.
Recently, Kim Jong Un has made more threats to South Korea’s capital, Seoul, and Washington DC. After making the announcement of testing nuclear weapons again, the United States have strongly urged them not to. Since North Korea has refused to listen once again, the Obama administration has now asked the Chinese government to help with the interception of the nuclear testing.
It was not hard to persuade China to help stop North Korea from taking action because China does not like the nuclear testing either. China feels as if there is no reason to keep testing these weapons. As North Korea’s most important diplomatic and economic ally, China has told North Korea to stop the nuclear testing. The testing of nuclear weapons could disrupt peace and China does not want war in a time of domestic economic growth.
The Institute for Science and International Security has been looking for any action at the Punggye-ri nuclear test site. Movement of vehicles and varying containers have been sighted through satellites. Some images from the ISIS have shown camouflage netting being put on the “tunnels” otherwise known as test tunnels. This step is usually the final step before the test takes place.
South Korean Defense Minister, Kim Kwan-jin, said that it seems as if North Korea is almost ready to perform the test but they are not fully sure. He stated that many consequences would take place if North Korea continues conducting the nuclear test.
North Korea has also stated that a “new form” of nuclear testing will happen this time. Many countries have been worried that this test would be bigger than prior tests. It could contain HEU, or highly enriched uranium, as its fuel, unlike the previously-used plutonium. The use of HEU would prove that North Korea has been successfully able to make an ongoing production of nuclear weapons. The United States currently believes that North Korea is carrying more than a dozen nuclear missiles. Later, North Korea will be able to make more missiles quicker and with more ease.
Whether or not the nuclear testing will actually take place is a mystery, but we must be aware of this upcoming danger and prepare for it.
[Image Attribute: Flickr]